Arkhangelsk, also Archangel, city,
northern European Russia, capital of Arkhangelsk Oblast, on the Northern Dvina
(Severnaya Dvina) River, near the White Sea (Beloye More). It is a major
seaport, although icebound in winter months. The city is also a trade and
processing center for an important timber-producing region. A maritime school,
a forestry institute, and a regional museum are located here.
Arkhangelsk was the chief Russian
seaport from its founding (1584) as Novo-Kholmogory until the building of the
Baltic port of Saint Petersburg in 1703. It received its present name in 1613.
The city declined in the 18th century, but trade revived at the end of the 19th
century, when a railroad to Moscow was completed. During World Wars I and II
Arkhangel-sk was a major port of entry for Allied aid. The city resisted
Bolshevik rule during 1918-20 and was a stronghold of the White Army, supported
by Allied forces.
Blagoveshchensk, city in far eastern
Russia and capital of Amur Oblast. Located at the confluence of the Amur and
Zeya rivers, Blagoveshchensk lies on the border of Russia and China. Its river
port promoted the development of the shipbuilding and ship repair industries.
Its proximity to deposits of important natural resources stimulated the growth
of the production of equipment for the coal and gold mining industries. Other
firms produce electrical equipment, paper, furniture, clothes, alcoholic
beverages, and meat products. Dairy and milling are also important aspects of
the economy. Blagoveshchensk serves an important transportation role in the
regional economy; in addition to its river port, the city is the final station
on a railroad spur from the Trans-Siberian Railway. The city has numerous
educational institutions, including schools of agriculture, teaching, and
medicine. The city also has theaters for drama and puppetry and a museum of
regional history. Blagoveshchensk was founded in 1856 as a military outpost at
the mouth of the Zeya River. The city was constructed with wide, tree-lined
streets; recent urban development has emphasized zones with large apartment
complexes outside of the city center.
Irkutsk, city, southern Siberian
Russia, capital of Irkutsk Oblast, at the confluence of the Irkut and Angara
rivers. It is a major industrial and commercial center served by the Trans-Siberian
Railroad. Manufactures include aircraft, motor vehicles, textiles, building
materials, mining equipment, and leather goods. A large hydroelectric facility
is here. A regional cultural center, the city has history and art museums,
theaters, a symphony orchestra, and several institutions of higher learning,
including a university.
Irkutsk was founded in 1652 as a
cossack outpost and developed as a fur- and gold-trading center on the route to
Mongolia and China; it was also used by the Russian government as a place of
exile. Industrialization accelerated after the coming of the Trans-Siberian
Railroad in 1898.
Kaliningrad, formerly Kцnigsberg, city, western Russia, on
the Pregolya River. The capital of Kaliningrad Oblast, it is a major industrial
and commercial center, connected by channel with Baltiysk, an ice-free port on
the Baltic Sea. Among its principal manufactures are ships, machinery,
chemicals, paper, and lumber. Historic landmarks in Kaliningrad include the
Schloss, or Castle (1255), and a cathedral (14th century). The German
philosopher Immanuel Kant, a native of the city, taught at its university (now
Kaliningrad State University), which was established in 1544.
The city, founded in 1255 as a
fortress by the Teutonic Knights, became a member of the Hanseatic League in
1340. From 1457 to 1525 it was the official seat of the grand master of the
Teutonic Knights, and from 1525 to (1618) it was the residence of the dukes of
Prussia. Frederick I was crowned as the first king of Prussia in the chapel of
the Schloss in 1701. During World War I (1914-18) the city was the scene of
heavy fighting between the Germans and the Russians. Following the war it was
made the capital of the German province of East Prussia. The city was severely
damaged in World War II (1945-45), and in 1945, after a two-month siege, it was
occupied by Soviet troops. By agreement among the Allies at the Potsdam
Conference (1945) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) annexed the
city and surrounding territory. In 1946 the city's name was changed from Kцnigsberg to Kaliningrad, in honor of
the Soviet leader M. I. Kalinin.
Kazan, city in central European
Russia, capital of the republic of Tatarstan, and a port at the confluence of
the Volga and Kazanka rivers. Kazan- is a major industrial, commercial, and
cultural center. Manufactured products include machinery, refined petroleum,
chemicals, building materials, processed food, footwear, soap, and textiles.
Once a prominent Muslim city, Kazan remains a center of Tatar culture (see
Tatars). It is the site of Kazan State University (founded in 1804), where Leo
Tolstoy and Vladimir Ilich Lenin studied, and several technical schools.
Notable structures include the kremlin (citadel), the oldest part of which
dates from the 15th century; a 16th-century church; and two 18th-century
Kazan was founded in the late 14th
century and soon became the capital of a powerful Tatar khanate. In 1552 the
city was annexed by Russia under Ivan IV Vasilyevich. It was largely destroyed
in 1774 during a revolt by troops under the leadership of the cossack soldier
Yemelyan Pugachov, but was rebuilt soon thereafter, during the reign of
Catherine the Great.
Murmansk, city, northwestern Russia,
the largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle. Situated on Kola
Inlet, an arm of the Barents Sea, the city is an important port with an
ice-free harbor. It is the capital of Murmansk Oblast. Murmansk is a Russian
naval base and has major shipbuilding and fish-processing facilities. It is the
seat of institutes of oceanography and polar research.
Murmansk was founded in 1915, during
World War I, as a port of entry for Allied supplies after Russian ports on the
Black and Baltic seas had been closed. In 1916 it was linked by rail with
Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). After the Russian Revolution, an Allied force
briefly occupied Murmansk, and it was an Allied port of entry in World War II
Nizhnevartovsk, city in northeastern
Russia, in western Siberia. Nizhnevartovsk is part of Khantia-Mansia, an
autonomous okrug within Tyumen- Oblast, and is located along the Ob- River. The
city grew in economic importance in the 1970s as a service center for the local
oil industry. The Samotlar oil basin, an important source of oil, is located in
the region, and oil and natural gas pipelines cross the city. Additional
industry in the city includes timber, construction materials, and food.
Transportation to the city is limited, although there is a railroad station.
There is a regional history museum in Nizhnevartovsk.
During the time of the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Soviet central planners concentrated
resources in several cities, including Nizhnevartovsk and Surgut, to promote
the growth of the Siberian oil industry. The labor intensive nature of oil
production during the Soviet period spurred dramatic population growth in the
city. In 1970, prior to the birth of the industry, the population of the city
was only 16,000. By the end of the decade the city had grown to 109,000, and by
the end of the 1980s the city had again more than doubled, to 242,000. By 1979
the city had grown to more than three times the size Soviet planners had
expected, causing serious housing and infrastructure shortages. The population
of the city is currently declining, most likely due to economic difficulties in
the oil industry.
Nizhniy Novgorod, city in western
Russia, at the confluence of the Oka and Volga rivers. Nizhniy Novgorod is a
major river port, railroad hub, and industrial center. The city is the site of
one of the largest automobile factories in Russia, and its manufactures also
include aircraft, textiles, and railroad and electric equipment. Nizhniy
Novgorod has libraries, museums, a large university, and several technical
schools. Historical structures include a stone kremlin (citadel) built in the
13th century, two 13th-century churches, and a 17th-century palace. Nizhniy
Novgorod was founded in 1221. In the late 14th century the city was plundered
by the Tatars before being annexed by Moscow in 1392. Important for its trade
with Asia, the city became famous for its trade fairs, held annually from 1817
until 1917. From 1932 to 1991 it was named Gorkiy (also spelled Gorky or Gorki)
in honor of the Russian writer Maksim Gorkiy, who was born in the city.
Novgorod, city, capital of Novgorod
Oblast, western Russia, on the Volkhov River, near Lake Il-men-. It is the
commercial center for a rich farm region, and industries here produce
fertilizer, processed food, furniture, and china. Novgorod retains examples of
early Russian architecture, including a kremlin (citadel) and the Cathedral of
Saint Sophia (both 11th century).
One of the oldest cities in Russia,
Novgorod was founded as early as the 5th or 6th century. Rurik, founder of the
Russian monarchy, became prince of Novgorod in 862. In 1136 the city achieved
independence from Kyyiv (Kiev) and, with a democratic form of government,
became the capital of sovereign Great Novgorod. In the 13th and 14th centuries,
Novgorod flourished as a trade outpost of the Hanseatic League and was a major
cultural center. It repulsed Tatar invasions in the late 13th century. In 1478
the city was annexed by its rival, Moscow, under Ivan III. The city declined as
a trading center after the establishment of nearby Saint Petersburg in 1703.
During the German occupation (1941-44) of World War II, the city was severely
Rostov-na-Donu, also Rostov-on-Don,
or Rostov, city, southwestern European Russia, capital of Rostov Oblast.
Situated on a high bank of the Don River near its mouth on the Sea of Azov, the
city is an important commercial, industrial, and transportation center. It is
connected by a deepwater canal to the Sea of Azov, and by the Volga-Don Canal
to the Caspian, Baltic, and White seas. The city is also linked by pipeline
with the petroleum fields of the Caucasus region. Manufactures include ships,
chemicals, agricultural machinery, electric equipment, and building materials.
Several institutions of higher learning, including a university, are in
In 1749 a customs office was
established on the site of present-day Rostov-na-Donu. A fortress was built
here in 1761, and in 1797 the settlement achieved city status. In the 19th
century it grew as an important trading port. During World War II the city was
held twice (1941, 1942-1943) by German forces and was damaged considerably.
Saransk, city in central European
Russia, capital of the republic of Mordovia. Saransk is located along the Insar
River in the Volga River basin, about 630 km (about 390 mi) east of Moscow.
Industrial activity in Saransk includes the production of electrical cables,
chemicals, decorative cloth, and food products; machine building, and
metalworking. The city also has two thermal power stations. Saransk has had a
train station since 1893, currently located on the Rusaevka-Kazan- rail route,
and is located along a highway. Saransk has many historic architectural sites
stemming from its early settlement in 1641 as a fortress for the southeastern
border of the Russian State. Soviet planners reconstructed the old city center
in the 1960s and 1970s, adding wide streets and planning the construction of
massive residential areas. Saransk has several theaters: a drama theater
(founded in 1961), a puppet theater, and a comedy theater. It also has a
regional history museum and a museum of painting. The Mordovian State
University (founded in 1957) is located in Saransk as well as several technical
Stavropol, city in southern European
Russia, capital of Stavropol- Territory (Kray), in an area known as Caucasia.
Since the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1991,
Stavropol- has attracted many refugees from neighboring regions as a result of
political and economic chaos and armed conflict near Russia's borders. The
city's economy is concentrated on heavy industry; it has factories that produce
automobiles, cranes, furniture, and reinforced concrete. Light industry is also
represented with the production of shoes and dairy products. Stavropol- has
air, rail (the Kavkazskaya-Divnoe-Elista rail line), and highway connections to
other major cities. It is also linked by bus routes within northern Caucasia.
Buses provide important linkages because of the mountainous nature of the area.
The city has technical-training institutes for medicine, education, art, and
construction. The city was founded in 1777 as a fort for the Russian army. It
was established as a city in 1785, and in 1822 became the center of the North
Caucasus Territory. From 1935 to 1943 it was known as Voroshilovsk.
Syktyvkar, city in northern Russia,
capital of Komi republic, Syktyvkar is located along the Sysola River near its
confluence with the Vychegda River about 1200 km (about 744 mi) northeast of
Moscow. Since the 1960s, the city's economy has focused on the timber industry
and includes the production of cellulose, paper, and wood furniture. Additional
industry includes the food industry (flour milling, meat, and dairy), light
industry (leather shoes, textiles), and construction materials. Lying outside
Russia's power network, Syktyvkar has a thermal power plant to serve its energy
needs. Because of its extreme northerly location the city has few
transportation links; it is, however, the final station on a rail spur from the
city of Mikun-. Syktyvkar University (founded in 1972) is located in the city
and there are several training institutes for the cellulose industry and the
fields of medicine, music, and education. The city has a drama theater and two
museums. Syktyvkar was settled as Ust--Sysol-sk in 1586 and was named Syktyvkar
in 1930. Most likely due to its extreme northerly location and restructuring in
the cellulose industry, the city is one of many in the far north that have lost
population since the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad,
city, capital of Volgograd Oblast, southwestern Russia, on the Volga River.
Volgograd, an important industrial, commercial, and transshipment center of
Russia, is a railroad hub and a major Volga River port. It is linked to the Don
River by the Volga-Don Canal, constructed between 1950 and 1957. A large
hydroelectric power dam is just north of the city. Among the main industries in
Volgograd are petroleum refining, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of aluminum,
chemicals, processed food, farm machinery, iron and steel, and forest products.
The University of Volgograd (1980) is located in the city.
Volgograd was founded in 1589 as
Tsaritsyn, a fortress on the southeastern frontier of Russia. It was taken by cossack
rebels twice: in 1670 by Stenka Razin and in 1774 by Yemelyan Pugachov. With
the expansion of the Russian Empire in the 19th century, Tsaritsyn became an
important port for products shipped down the Volga River. Early in the Russian
Revolution, in 1917, the city was taken by the Bolsheviks. During the civil war
that followed it was occupied by White Russian troops for three months in 1919.
In 1925 the city was renamed Stalingrad, for Joseph Stalin, who had been
notable in the defense of the city against the White Russians.
During World War II, Stalingrad, a
strategically located industrial center, was a vital German objective. A large
German force mounted an assault on the city on August 20, 1942, after a period
of heavy air raids. A successful Soviet counteroffensive began on November 19,
and on February 2, 1943, the Sixth German Army surrendered, thus ending the
German advance into the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). German
casualties alone totaled more than 300,000, and the Soviet city was almost
completely destroyed. Reconstruction began immediately after the war. The city
was renamed Volgograd in 1961.
Yaroslavl, industrial city, capital
of Yaroslavl- Oblast, central European Russia, port and railroad center on the
Volga River. Manufactures include refined petroleum, motor vehicles, chemicals,
synthetic rubber, machinery, processed food, and textiles. Points of interest
in the city include a 13th-century church and monastery and three 17th-century
churches containing noteworthy frescoes. Also noteworthy is Yaroslavl-
University (1971), which has faculties in the physical and social sciences.
According to tradition, Yaroslavl
was founded in the early 11th century by Russian ruler Yaroslav the Wise of
Kyyiv. From 1218 to 1463, when it was absorbed by Moscow, Yaroslavl- was the
seat of an independent principality. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was an
important commercial city on the route between Moscow and Arkhangel-sk.
Commerce declined in the 18th century, and the city became known for the
manufacture of textiles. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Yaroslavl- was
developed as a center of heavy industry.
Yekaterinburg, formerly Sverdlovsk,
city, capital of Yekaterinburg Oblast, Russia, on the Iset River. Located on
the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains in a mineral-rich region, Yekaterinburg
is a major industrial center and a station on the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Among the large industrial works located in the city are platinum refineries,
copper and iron smelters, and factories producing electrical equipment,
chemicals, and heavy machinery. Yekaterinburg's educational institutes include
the Urals A. M. Gorkiy State University (1920) and the Yekaterinburg State
Medical Institute (1931).
The city was founded in 1721 by Czar
Peter I as an ironworking center and was named Yekaterinburg for his wife, who
was later proclaimed Empress Catherine I. Industrial development was spurred by
the construction of the Great Siberian Highway in the late 18th century and the
Trans-Siberian Railroad in the late 19th century. Czar Nicholas II and his
family were held captive in the city by the Bolsheviks after the Russian
Revolution and were executed here in 1918. The city was renamed Sverdlovsk in
1924 in honor of Bolshevik and Soviet leader Yakov M. Sverdlov. During World
War II (1939-1945) industry from threatened European areas of the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was transferred here. Following the disintegration
of the USSR at the end of 1991, the city's name was changed back to
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